So hello my friends!
This week had some interesting tweaks and turns.
At first it started off great! We went off to go visit an investigator with the intent to meet his mom. his mom is a Filipinojin who loves Christ. We were able to meet her and she was just so open. she immediately let us in and sat us down. We talked and built a great relationship and have an appointment for today. I'm super excited!
So on Tuesday we went a little further outside the city, maybe a 25 minute bike ride. We found this massive apartment complex and many houses around it. We think not many missionaries have been out this direction so we put that down as a side note to return back to it. We had a lesson with U san. Man I just love her and her family so much. Her daughters and son are so stinking cute. We taught a little bit of the plan of salvation and taught about God's love. She seems to recognize it really well. We set another appointment for Friday (later that week).
Wednesday we went to visit some less actives but as I was biking, a huge explosion came from behind me. My tire literally exploded. The tread and tube. There was a huge hole in both of them so the day was spent getting that fixed and then a lesson with L Z the Chinese man. We texted him the day before asking if we could meet. He said yes but I have something to tell you. I want to get baptized in a different church. We just sat there in awe. In my head I kept saying "what did we do wrong? What could have we done differently?" Then the idea came, what is his understanding of the Book of Mormon? So we taught him and asked him what he thought. He said he didn't understand it at all. We basically taught him the whole first lesson over again but he said he basically wants to become Christian. That's it. It doesn't matter by what means. But he does like the Protestant church because it was reformed. I asked him "what about the church that has been restored?" He said well I don't like the Book of Mormon. I like the bible. I thought in my head, wait... before you came to Japan, you didn't know anything about the bible and saying that you don't like new things is slightly ironic. He said a lot of things that were against each other and frankly it was hard to not be frustrated. At the end I challenged him to read it and see. We want to re-review the first lesson but put the focus on priesthood.
Thursday was spent buying a new tire, fixing my bike, and planning. We didn't have time to dendo. But we did get to eat lunch with a member and her friend and her friends daughter. It was awkward to say the least. She tried her best to bring her friends to us to teach but we think she thinks that she only needs to bring her friends to us and that's all the members need to do. They need to fellowship and prepare the friends. But I am grateful to receive the first referral ever from a member on my mission. Its kinda sad that it took 11 months to get that.
Friday we met with a less active and U. The less active has I think cancer so he can't come to church but he knows all the missionaries since 1979. When they first opened Iizuka. The two less active missionaries in our ward are on that list. Then we talked to U. We asked her what she thought of the message. Then the arrow of pain came. She said she originally didn't have interest and still doesn't but she said she would continue to listen. It hurt a lot since we had hope in her.
Saturday we had training in Fukuoka so we didn't have much time to do anything.
Sunday I was struggling during church because the first counselor basically tells us to always work harder and honestly tells us things that we already knew. He sometimes criticizes the missionaries because we are so young but he is also very kind at times. We are trying our best to do the things president asks us but sometimes... its just difficult when members won't help us. I asked him (since he lives far) to visit some of the less active near him. He said it was completely impossible. and walked off. I love him but he is so difficult to work with. Not only that I was feeling really down because the past half week. It was good but then turned sour. During the sacrament I just sat there and pondered. I had this feeling of everything was going to be okay.
We went home and I listened to some talks that Elder Jensen gave me. They were 2009 April general conference talks. Both stressing things of we are not alone, we can do it kind of talks. I felt better so we headed out the door and for some reason I was just filled with hope. We had a feeling to visit a former investigator. She wasn't there but outside her apartment there is a business that sells apartments. We saw a couple pull in the parking lot with an American truck. I stopped them and started to talk about their car, which led into why they were there. They said they were either recently married or soon to get married, I forget the details but it allowed for a natural intro to eternal marriages. The girl, as expected, love the idea. The man wasn't turned off, but they listened and they might contact us.
We ran into some kids later. I remembered Jesus saying "suffer the little children to come to me" so we talked to them for a bit. It would be weird to see American men talking to kids so we walked away but they followed us up 5 flights of stairs as we housed an apartment. We sang abc's for them and had fun.
We ran into a Jehovah's Witness. She shoved chirashis into our hands but wouldn't exchange anything. I think it's funny that religions don't take time to listen to others. I try to do that for others because I know I would want that if they did it to me, but that is kinda frustrating as well. She said she was in the middle of dinner so she was good but she didn't say she wasn't good for us returning again :)
Lastly, our first member present lesson in over 3 months. Probably one of the best lessons I've had on my mission. It was short and sweet but super powerful and left the investigator feeling better. We met with U again and we brought our branch president along with us. We talked about the Holy Ghost and prayer but the focus of it all was that it is a real thing that we can receive answers to. All in all she opened up and asked some amazing questions as we shared Enos' story from the Book of Mormon. Lastly, after we told her the feelings and promptings she can receive from prayer, we challenged her to pray before she went to bed. She said she was scared for the feeling she would get but we told her again that it would be okay. We had our branch president pray at the end. It was a wonderful prayer. After we said amen (U said amen too :)) she said "woah, I felt this fuwah feeling" (motioning to her heart swelling). The branch president said "That's great. That was the Spirit." And I turned to her and said "See it is real. That shows us that God loves us all"
Things are great!